Why do I need an estate plan if I don’t have an estate?

Everyone in America has an estate and an estate plan in place automatically. Even without a home, vehicles or money to your name you have an estate, your body is your responsibility and deciding what will be done with it when you die is up to you. If you die without an estate plan, whether or not you own any large assets, you leave your possessions in the hands of your local and the federal government. They quickly name themselves your primary beneficiaries and leave little to nothing for your family.

What is the minimum that everyone should have in their estate plan?

Everyone over the age of 18 should have medical legal documents, property documents and personal documents:

  • Living Will- if I’m not going to make it, pull the plug.
  • Medical Power of Attorney- All medical decisions are to be made by this person.
  • Durable General Power of Attorney- Financial and property decisions are to be made by this person.
  • Will- Addressing what you would like to have happen to your family, property and assets in the event of your death.

These are not difficult papers to sort out on your own as an 18 year old, but as you get older and your family and estate expand, they become increasingly complex and their importance is magnified.